The Quintessential Minion

Generally, the tradition of a strong literary villain employs at least one minion, if not scores of nameless, faceless, indistinct, and often rather incompetent minions.


THE QUINTESSENTIAL MINION TYPES

The Coward
The Devoted Follower
The Enforcer
The Mindless Brute
The Reluctant Pawn
The Unwitting Pawn

The Coward
This minion type is an ordinary menial grunt, lowly servant, or the master villain's suffering slave and he's a coward. He's deathly fearful of both the master villain and the hero. At the first sign of violence, he'll scurry away and find some place to hide. He's best utilized when the hero has been captured. By his mannerisms, it becomes clear he's a coward. Then the hero can go to work on him psychologically.

He can't be converted to the hero's way of thinking. He's far too terrified. However, he may be convinced to help, if the hero can persuade him that he'll be absolutely safe from the master villain's retribution. Of course, he probably won't be. This minion type functions best for action, comedy, horror, mystery, revenge, and romance adventures. Females in this role tend to be highly effective.

The Devoted Follower
This minion type is a completely loyal devotee. He lives only to serve the beloved master and without question. The master's command is his wish. He's the type who would join a cult and gladly drink the kool-aide, knowing full well it was poisoned, or voluntarily join the infantry to eagerly man the front line.

Far as the master villain is concerned, this dupe is nothing more than a meat-shield or cannon fodder. He's always encountered in the field on the front line. This minion type functions best for action, comedy, espionage, horror, mystery, revenge, and romance adventures.

The Enforcer
This minion type is a quasi-intelligent thug. His job is to convince uncooperative, resistant, and defiant victims to get with the program. When this occurs, he responds to the offender aggressively with threats, destruction, and violence.

He's typically encountered in the field. If he survives an initial encounter with the hero, he's usually present in the master villain's fortress at the adventure's climax. This minion type functions best for action, espionage, horror, mystery, and revenge adventures. Females in this role are an interesting an unexpected twist

The Mindless Brute
This minion type is a powerful and massive monster of a fighter. He may be a bumbling and incompetent combatant or highly skilled and proficient. Regardless, His job is to smash anything the master villain or henchman orders him to smash and he does that very well, but don't ask him to do much thinking. He hasn't the capacity or inclination for such intellectual activity. 

He can't be converted to the hero's cause. He's possessed of a blind, unwavering, perhaps threat induced, loyalty to his master. He could be human, demi-human, a bad ass beast, or some horrible creature. 

He's typically encountered in the field, usually as the henchman's servant . If he survives an initial encounter with the hero, he's frequently present in the master villain's fortress at the adventure's climax. This minion type functions best for action, comedy, horror, mystery, and revenge adventures. Females in this role are an interesting an unexpected twist.

The Reluctant Pawn
This minion type has been coerced, extorted, or blackmailed by the master villain into serving evil. Typically, he's a well-intentioned, soft-hearted, and good person. However, this is not always the case. After serving his purpose, he often tends to die ironically. Sometimes he's deserving of this fate.

Perhaps, he's achieved success through questionable means. Perhaps, he owes his success to someone he screwed over. If so, he'll often fall victim to blackmail or the reminder of what could happen "if the truth should get out". Occasionally, he's allowed to remain as a figurehead, to keep up appearances, while his strings are pulled behind the scenes. This frequently happens to corrupt officials, who are surprised to inevitably discover the master villain is primarily responsible for placing him in that position of power.

He can easily be converted to the hero's cause, if the hero can persuade him that he'll be absolutely safe from the master villain's retribution. Of course, he probably won't be. This minion type functions best for action, espionage, horror, mystery, revenge, and romance adventures. Females in this role tend to be highly effective.

The Unwitting Pawn 
This minion type has been deceived by the master villain or henchman and believes he's working for a greater good. In reality, he's an unknowing tool of a greater evil. Typically, he's a well-intentioned, but naive or foolish, idealist. However, this is not always the case. He may be simply naive and foolish, but not well-intentioned nor an idealist.

Generally, he's eager to assist the hero. Alternately, he can easily be converted to the hero's cause, if the hero can persuade him that he'll be absolutely safe from the master villain's retribution. Of course, he probably won't be. This minion type functions best for action, comedy, espionage, horror, mystery, revenge, and romance adventures. Females in this role tend to be highly effective.

Simple Versus Complex
These basic minion types are rather simple and predictable. However, each provides a solid foundation for characterization. Typically, complex and interesting minions frequently combine aspects and elements of multiple character types.


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